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The Protection Paradox Debated in Greenland
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The Greenland newspaper Sermitsiak on March 26, 2004, carried a large article about The Protection Paradox which included comments from Greenlandic politicians. The article, which was printed in West Greenlandic and Danish, is translated and reprinted (with permission) below (a full copy can be downloaded to the right):

Thule Radar Important Nuclear Target

New article shows that radar facilities are important targets in nuclear planning against missile defenses. The Thule radar is expected to be upgrade next year

By Poul Krarup
March 26, 2004
pp. 12-13

The American radar at the Thule-base will likely become an important target for Russian nuclear weapons when it next year is incorporated into the U.S. missile defense system.

This appears from a new article in the U.S. magazine Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which for the first time reveals how the United States planned nuclear attacks against a Russian missile defense system.

"Although Thule has probably been a nuclear target since the 1950s, this status will likely be reinforced when the base becomes part of the U.S. missile defense system," according to Hans M. Kristensen who is the lead author of the article. He is former member of the Danish Defence Commission, and a consultant to the U.S. organization Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington D.C.

The article is based on previously secret documents recently declassified under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

Important Targets
The documents reveal that the U.S. military during the Cold War designated over 100 long-range nuclear missiles to the destruction of the Soviet missile defense around Moscow and Leningrad. The article shows that all parts of the Soviet missile defense system -- even distant early-warning radar -- were targets for the American nuclear weapons.

The article is available on the web page of the magazine: http://www.thebulletin.org/issues/2004/ma04/ma04kristensen.html

The authors have used computer programs from the U.S. Defense Department to calculate how the many nuclear weapons would have caused radioactive fallout over Moscow and large parts of its surrounding areas.

Individual targets would have been hit with up to eight nuclear weapons each.

"It was a surprise to that all elements of the missile defense system were targets and not just the interceptors," says Hans M. Kristensen. "The material suggests that large nuclear powers are very aware of the effect that even a limited missile defense system can have on the effectiveness of their nuclear strike plans."

Danish Assumption Not Valid
The American and Danish governments have stated that the future U.S. missile defense system will not worry Russia and China or lead to further armament. The article in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists suggests that this assumption is not valid, but that missile defense systems have a dramatic effect on offensive nuclear planning.

Nuclear planning against missile defense systems continue even today despite warmer relations between the U.S. and Russia.

The White House has not yet ordered the military to stop such Cold War-type nuclear planning, and much suggests that the future U.S. missile defense system already is part of Russia's nuclear planning, says Hans M. Kristensen.

The U.S. government is expected later in 2004 to declare the first elements of the missile defense system operational in Alaska and California.

Initially the system will consist of 10 silos with interceptors and later increase to 100 silos as well as sea-based systems. The Thule-radar will be modernized as part of the missile defense system.

Thule Joins in 2005
As for when the Thule-radar is modernized, then it seems it will happen next year. Earlier this month Lt. Gen. Ronald Kadish, who is director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, said: "We are continuing our consultations with Denmark regarding the upgrade of the Thule radar site in Greenland."

Underlying this careful statement, which is based on the Danish Parliament's decision in 2003 to begin negotiations with the United States, is the expectation that an approval will come from Denmark in 2004 so that the modernization ban begin next year. The new U.S. defense budget for 2005 includes "funding to begin upgrading the Early Warning Radar in Thule, Greenland."

The work in 2005 involves: "Initiates and completes site facility designs for Thule UEWR."


The Security Political Situation Is Different

Member of homerule Josef Motzfeldt dismisses that Pituffik [Thule] is a nuclear target today

By Poul Krarup
March 26, 2004
p. 12

- The article about Pituffik [Thule] being a nuclear target shows how crazy the nuclear logic was in the 1960s. That both sides planned to destroy to the greatest extent possible on the other side, including defense systems, if one of them decided to attack, evaluates member of the homerule Josef Motzfeldt.

- As far as I can see, the authors have, based on some documents from 1968 -- which are frightening enough in themselves -- calculated how many nuclear weapons U.S. planners would use if a situation arose in 1989 in which the U.S. was attacked with nuclear weapons and therefore also would defend itself with nuclear weapons. We can obviously only be happy that the plans from 1968 never were carried out, that the by the authors envisioned situation in 1989 didn't happen, and that the Cold War ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall, he says.

- Today's security political situation is different. The regional conflicts, for example in the Middle East and terrorism are serious enough, but there is not a direct conflict between the United States and Russia, like the one that existed between the the United States and Russia during the Cold War. The U.S. and Russia have for example in the Putin-Bush agreement from May 2002 agreed to cooperate on missile defense. There is also no sign that China will begin reactions of the nature that characterized the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia, Josef Motzfeldt believes.

The United States requested in December 2002 that the Pituffik [Thule] radar be upgraded.

The Homerule and the [Danish] government have since summer 2003 negotiated with the United States based on a joint Greenland-Danish proposal for negotiations to renew the [1951] defense agreement, an environmental agreement, and an agreement about techno-economical cooperation. A united Homerule parliament has supported the proposal.

Homerule chairman Hans Enoksen and [Danish] foreign minister Per Stig Moeller agreed in connection with the signing of the Itilleq-agreement in May 2003, that these negotiations much be completed with the intention of reaching agreement on the deals, before an upgrade of the Pituffik [Thule] radar can take place.

- That is also the policy of the current Homerule, established in accordance with an unanimous Homerule Parliament, says Josef Motzfeldt and adds:

- We now seek to complete the negotiations as fast a possible, given the complicated issues involved, and there many calendars that must be coordinated. I can't obviously predict if this will result in a positive or negative reply to the United States -- then it wouldn't be negotiations.

Do you fear that the United States will move the base to Canada if the reply is negative?

- I am not familiar with the U.S. wanting to move the Pituffik [Thule] base to Canada. That would in any case be the U.S.'s own decision. The Pituffik-based has advantages and disadvantages for the Greenland society. The negotiations on a renewal of the defense agreement, the environmental agreement and the techno-economical cooperation agreement envision that the U.S. presence at Pituffik-base much give a positive contribution to the Greenland society, says Josef Motzfeldt.


The Danger of Upgrading

Greenland must say no to an upgrade, if the American's won't pay, believes member of parliament Lars-Emil Johansen

By Poul Krarup
March 26, 2004
p. 13

- The article about Pituffik [Thule] being a nuclear target clearly shows that Denmark consistently has underestimated the danger to Greenland from a possible upgrade, says member of parliament Lars-Emil Johansen who adds that [Danish] Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller even has tried previously to belittle the Greenlandic claims about the risk of becoming a nuclear target.

- It also shows how incredibly important it is that Greenland stands form on its demands -- as compensation for the increased risk that Greenland alone must shoulder. The issue has such important significance for Qaanaaq in particular and Greenland in general that the Homerule chairman simply cannot be allowed to hand down the matter to one of his ministers, but must at a minimum participate himself in the handling of the future negotiations.

- Matters like this must in other word be handled by the highest level of the Greenlandic government, and may in the end mean that Greenland will have to say no to the U.S. wishes to upgrade the Thule radar for use in the missile defense, if the U.S. continue to "entertain" us with [the argument] that they "normally" don't pay for the rights the want to gain in other countries, and the contributions they want others to provide for their benefit, says Lars-Emil Johansen, who is very displeased with the Danish policy toward Greenland in this area.

- As I have previously pointed out in an op-ed in Sermitsiak and Weekendavisen, a possible acceptance now will be the first time Greenland itself accepts. To that end it is completely unacceptable that Denmark constantly deceives the Greenlandic negotiators about the actual dangers from Pituffik [Thule] in order to get Greenlandic acceptance for the benefit of Denmark.

- It is also completely unacceptable that we must be depending on the U.S. Freedom of Information Act to be told what actually is the truth about the use of Pituffik [Thule], while Denmark constantly withholds and twists the truth for us and only tells it when they are forced to by disclosures in the United States.

Lars-Emil Johansen believes that Greenland would be better off negotiating directly with the United States and says:

- The United States appears at all levels to be more honest about Pituffik [Thule] than Denmark is, and the U.S. appears to constantly be forced by Denmark to play dumb toward Greenland.

Lars-Emil Johansen finds it discouraging again to see how Danish governments apparently pursue their own goals at the expense of the Greenlandic people.

- Denmark's governments withholds the truth as well as the risk about the Thule-base as well as those interests they actually work to pursue -- that is, purely Danish political gains in the relations with the U.S., NATO, and the UN, says the member of parliament.

© Hans M. Kristensen | www.nukestrat.com | 2004

download article:

» Article: "Thule-radar important nuclear target,"
Sermitsiak, March 26,
2004, pp. 12-13
(PDF-version, 1.5 MB)

(posted with permission)

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